Mal J Nutr 23(3): 437-448, 2017

Job Stress on Abdominal Obesity: The Moderating Effects of Anger and Overeating Behaviour
Rosnah I1, Idris MA2, Azmi MT1 & Noor Hassim I1

1Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Center, Jalan Yaakob Latiff, 56000 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
2 Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Building, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur


Introduction: Individual differences pertaining to cognitive and affective processes toward job stress stimuli may influence food choice and intake, leading to overeating and obesity. This study was conducted to determine the relationship between job stress and abdominal obesity with anger as a personality trait and overeating as moderators among male workers in Malaysia. Methods: This cross-sectional study involved 492 male eployees from 33 private companies in various states in Malaysia. The companies and workers were approached by convenience sampling. Workers who fulfilled the study inclusion criteria completed validated questionnaires assessing job stress, anger as a personality trait and overeating, using the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory-Exhaustion, Spielberger Trait Anger Scale and Three Factor Eating Questionnaire-Uncontrolled, respectively. Weight, height and abdominal circumference were taken for each participant. Moderation effect analyses were conducted based on standard multiple regression. Results: For two-way interaction, a significant curvilinear regression equation was found to predict overeating based on job stress as a predictor and anger as a moderator (ß=0.93, SE=0.46, t=2.03, p=0.043). High anger was associated with higher overeating behaviour on exposure to high job stress level (F (7, 484) = 9.36, p<0.001, R2=0.118). For three-way interaction, a significant curvilinear regression equation was found to predict abdominal obesity based on job stress as a predictor and both anger and overeating as moderators (ß= -0.73, SE=0.39, t=1.87, p=0.032). High anger trait and high overeating behaviour predict lower abdominal obesity upon exposure to high job stress in contrast to the combined moderation effects of low anger trait and high overeating behaviour (F (14, 477)= 5.93, p<0.001, R2=0.123). Conclusion: Effect of job stress on overeating was shown in this study to depend on the level of anger as a personality trait, while the effect of job stress on abdominal obesity depended on the level of anger as a personality trait and overeating behaviour.

Keywords: Abdominal obesity, anger trait, job stress, moderation analyses, overeating

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